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Hi,

First Post. Looks like a great Forum.

Live outside of Boston, and have a 2 yr old, so overall safety is my number one concern. Not incredible amounts of snow and ice around here, usually, but more than enough to give serious thought to winter driving safety, etc.

Went and saw the new 2013 Honda Accords yesterday; not too impressed.

Next door was a Subaru dealer, and I said, what the heck.

Saw the Legacy, which I really liked, although it seemed "a bit" smaller than the Accord or Hyundai Sonata.
Might be an issue (smaller overall, and smaller trunk, definitely)
The AWD seems like a really nice feature.

Then I saw an Outback which I really liked.

Have never had a SUV, or ever driven one, or even thought about considering one, but...

So let me ask a few dumb questions, please:

a. For a "Family Car", are there any negatives, or not so great, aspects to a SUV like the Outback ?

b. Would probably never, ever, be used off-road.
Would the extra, higher, ground clearance be a detriment
to normal driving ?

c. What don't you like about the 2013 Outback ? Or SUV's in general ?

d. What might I Not-Like about it being a SUV, or other aspects ?

e. Reliability for the Outback and Legacy pretty good ?

Not sure what else to ask now, but any opinions or thoughts would be most appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob
 

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Welcome to the forum! You really can't go wrong with either. I had an 11 legacy which I loved. Trunk was big enough for 2 sets of golf clubs + or 2 hockey bags, but you have to fold down one of the seats to get the sticks in. That was fine until we had our second kid and needed 2 car seats. I traded in for a 13 outback. You trade a little handling for more cargo space and flexibility. Love the outback also. The outback rides and handles more like a sedan than an SUV, but not as good as the legacy due to the increased ground clearance. If you add the STI rear sway bar (http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010-present/24867-sway-bar-mod-picture-tutorial.html), it really tightens up the handling.

Reliability for both are outstanding. Consumer reports recently rated them higher in reliability than Honda and Toyota.

Good luck with whatever you choose!
 

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a. I can't think of any drawbacks for the Outback as a family car, although I don't have a family myself. I imagine your child is almost out of the carseat, but in case you have another in the future the Outback's height will be easier to strap them in.

b. Negatives of higher ride height: higher center of gravity = less precise handling characteristics; less aerodynamic = worse fuel efficiency (but for the size of the Outback, it's still good)

c. I am a new, first-time Outback owner so there's not much I've discovered yet. The one thing that bothers me with all SUV's is the overall size/bulkiness of the vehicle when you're NOT utilizing the passneger space and cargo area. However, when you do need extra room, it's refreshing not to have to squeeze everything in.

d. Depends on how you drive and what you car you're coming from.

e. Check Consumer Reports and Edmunds - Outback is highly rated and recommended for reliability, overall quality, value for the money, and safety, among other things. These are a big part of what pushed me to look at the Outback and only the Outback. Plus, I think the styling for 2013 is dead on.
 

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I have two kids and I would recommend the outback over a sedan. The extra space is welcome and helpful and needed for us. We have multiple Subarus and usually (like right now, traveling for holidays) take the Outback Wagon for space. Pack and plays, strollers, kids gears, toys (including my own - guitar, racquetball, tennis, whatever).

I do not like SUV's or trucks at all. I have a full size Ford truck for towing and I've went and picked up large items, even towed two cars and a large boat multiple times, with my Outback and trailer instead just because I hate driving huge, roll over feeling, vehicles like my truck. They're just not my style. The outback is more like a car than an SUV in those regards in my opinion.

If you're the type of person that has a bit of apprehension about wagons (or dare I say minivans even), which we did, that usually goes away the instant you buy one. They're so practical and useable that most folks love them even though they hated them the day before they bought them. I encourage friends to get minivans and so far 100% of them have gone from haters to lovers the day after. Of course if you're really concerned about looks, image, performance, then of course you might not get over that. And that was me, I never wanted a wagon, now I thoroughly enjoy ours and look forward to having one for the long term.

If you don't like the way the Outback handles you can generally upgrade rear springs or sway bars easily and inexpensively. Folks install a stiff sway bar on older OBW's and they're only $64 or something from Subaru and stiffer springs are equally inexpensive. That firms up the handling if you're intent on that kind of stuff. In my experience I've never really noticed though as I'm not a performance minded guy, I'm more into reliability and practicality.

Reliable, yes. Outbacks are fairly easy 200,000 mile vehicles with routine maintenance. The older models (up to 2010) have an engine that had headgasket issues, which weren't a huge deal but an extra $1,500 expense along the way to 200,000 miles. By now Subaru has a new engine which is slightly unknown since it's only a couple years old but it has some very good characteristics and tell tale signs. It is expected and hoped this new engine does not have headgasket issues, it's a complete redesign.

The H6 vehicles are excellent minus the loss in fuel economy, though they do pretty good for a larger motor depending on what kind of driving you do. They have been around longer and have excellent reliability. I have favored them for their inexpensive nature and reliability until now but I haven't dealt with the newer 2010+ stuff so we'll see where I'm at in a few years and contemplating those new ones.

At this point I'm interested in the newer 4 cylinder engines when it comes time for me to get a new one, where I have avoided them in the past. I do lots of mechanical, engine swaps, etc though so I'm abnormally intent on reliability and mechanical stuffs.
 

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2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited, PZEV, Satin White Pearl, SAP, OEM Hitch, Body Side Moldings, Door Edge Guards, Wheel Arch Moldings, Splash Guards, Rear Seat Back Protectors, Rear Bumper Cover, Pin
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We have two cars, of which the Outback is the family car. We are at the teen and tween ages with the children but there's plenty of room for all. In fact, I went with the Outback because of the additional leg room in the back seat for my son who is a little over 6 feet tall now.

As far as off road, never say never (even almost), you'll be surprised with the utility you will get out of this vehicle. In my opinion, it’s a good vehicle for a growing family, especially in your neck of the woods.

Besides all of that, most of us Outback owners grow more fond of our vehicles as time goes by. Kind of like wine, go ahead and feel the love.

Good luck and best wishes with your decision, where ever it takes you.
 

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Hey Robert,

Hi,

a. For a "Family Car", are there any negatives, or not so great, aspects to a SUV like the Outback ?

AWD is great in rain, snow, and probably even helps a little if you drive aggressively in the normal conditions, but there is a weight penalty, added mechanical complexity and in my experience it is harder on tires.

b. Would probably never, ever, be used off-road.
Would the extra, higher, ground clearance be a detriment
to normal driving ?

I think the latest generation is much more SUV like than the previous generation. I personally would have looked at a Legacy Wagon if it was still available in the states.

c. What don't you like about the 2013 Outback ? Or SUV's in general ?

Besides not needing the extra ride height, overall I like it so far.

d. What might I Not-Like about it being a SUV, or other aspects ?
I think a test drive should answer your concerns here.

e. Reliability for the Outback and Legacy pretty good ?
I'd say the overall reliability is very good, but your long term maintenance costs will probably be a little higher than a FWD car.

Not sure what else to ask now, but any opinions or thoughts would be most appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob

I have a 2005 and 2013 Outback. I looked at a lot of cars before coming back to the Outback based mostly on safety, visibility and gas mileage. If you are looking for a family car I think the Outback, Legacy, and Forester should be on your short list based on their safety ratings alone. I live in NJ and probably get less snow than you get in MA, but after living with AWD for a few winters, you probably will always want to have AWD on at least one car in your driveway. All I can add is do your research, and test drive all of the cars you are interested in.
 

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All the previous replies are dead on.

I'd like to think that the Outback is a good compromise between a SUV and a sedan but leaning slightly more towards a sedan like grossgary said. You get alot of the advantages of both but with very few of their drawbacks.

As far as reliability this is my second Subaru and other than routine maintenance I haven't had any problems with either.

My wife is due very soon and safety was very important to us too. Subaru's always seem to rate above average in this department.

My complaints are mainly me just being fussy. I don't care for the Sat Nav system (if I were you I'd just get a Garmin instead), the bluetooth system and audio controls in general are not up to par (my work truck is a '12 f-150 and that audio/bluetooth system is alot nicer), I am also disappointed in engine/transmission selection (I'd like to see a manual or a CVT with the H6). There are other small things but they are pretty minor, I would buy another OB in a heartbeat. They are great cars!

Like SeanU said, research and testdrive!
 

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I have a 1 month old and we already owned an Accord (2006) and I just traded my Acura RSX Type-S for a 2013 Outback to use as the "family" car.

Haven't had it long but we can't find much wrong with it from the family car perspective. Coming from a performance car the Outback handles incredibly well for it's size, it is way more fun to drive than most SUVs or Crossovers. Maybe the only exception would be some kind of high-HP V8 SUV if straight line horsepower is what gets you going... if you care about handling, feel, suspension, etc.. the Outback is very good.

Super safe (see the recent IIHS TopSafety+ news), good handling, exceptional winter weather capability, excellent utility, very nice details throughout, lots and lots of legroom for all passengers, handles infant & child seats with ease, etc..

I'd actually disagree on the rear Accord legroom vs. the Legacy & Outback.. I think the Subarus have much more usable legroom in the back. Honda might be fudging the legroom numbers more than Subaru by moving the seat to take measurements... I know some manufacturers do that.

Despite the stilted suspension I find the Outback more fun to drive than our Accord (which is a V6 whereas I bought the 2.5i Outback) because the Subaru is better balanced and has better steering, suspension, and brake feel, etc..

In terms of hauling gear the Outback probably holds more with the back seats down than my old Acura + our Accord together. Other than minivans there aren't many body styles that can more efficiently hold cargo than a wagon/hatchback. (We are in that stage where we have to pack a ton of stuff for the baby obviously)
 

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Hi,


a. For a "Family Car", are there any negatives, or not so great, aspects to a SUV like the Outback ?

if you're looking for just a people carrier i think most 4 door sedans will do. Outback offers few more options that makes it more useful.

b. Would probably never, ever, be used off-road.
Would the extra, higher, ground clearance be a detriment
to normal driving ?

no, but if you drive like a highschool kid...yes. Body roll would be significantly more on an outback than say a bmw 128.

c. What don't you like about the 2013 Outback ? Or SUV's in general ?
the extra length can be bothersome for parking, but i got a rear view camera so no complaints here.

d. What might I Not-Like about it being a SUV, or other aspects ?
i think this depends on what type of cars you're used to or like.

e. Reliability for the Outback and Legacy pretty good ?
this is my 4th subaru and my 5th and 6th will be subarus.

Bob
hope this helps.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Ltd- Nav, Eyesight, HK, Graphite Gray Metallic
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I agree with all of the above. Our kids are grown, but we had a Minivan when they were babies and that was the perfect car at the time. I think the new OBs would be perfect as well.

One thing I would add to the previous comments is how easy the added height makes it to get small kids in/out of their seats. You don't have to bend over and squeeze yourself in, like you would in a sedan. More importantly, in the early years, it would be easy to change diapers using the OB's flat trunk. The floor of the cargo area is pretty much level with the bumper, so you can lay the baby down and change diapers as if you were using a changing table at home. And the rear hatch is overhead protecting you from weather while you're doing it.

I don't think you'd regret getting an OB at all
 

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Other than a minivan, the Outback is one of the best kid haulers. We already know it is safe... It also handles two car seats easily, and carries all your stuff. If you can't get it all inside, there are built-in roof rails. If you can't put it up there, you can tow a trailer! We even haul a small camper (well within the rated towing limits of the 2.5i Outback). I also use a 4x8 cargo trailer for trips to Ikea and the dump. I had five people -- including my son in his car seat) in the Outback over the holiday trudging through the snow in PA. The Outback felt very secure.

As mentioned by others, the seating position is good for getting kids in and out of their seats. And, if you have never owned a wagon before, you'll LOVE the cargo space! I bought me first hatchback car in 2002 and will NEVER own a sedan again.
 

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As far as a family car goes, one thing that sold my wife and I was the rear seat room. In my old car the car seat only fit behind the passenger side and the front passenger had to have their knees in the glove compartment.

The outback can fit the car seat behind my seat and my wife can sit in the back with the baby with more than enough room. I just took a 12 hour trip with my wife in the back and my brother in the front and they both had more then enough comfortable space for the drive down. My brother even said how impressed he was with the room inside.
 
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